Nothampton High School
High News

High News 15 March 2019

Without a doubt the purpose of school is to educate, and the primary focus is understandably on students and teachers. It is surprising to realise therefore that, in common with most other schools, there are almost as many support staff as teachers at Northampton High. Why should this be? And what do they all do? Particularly when the school is closed during the evenings and school holiday periods.

It is reassuring that almost 50% of the support staff are directly involved in supporting teachers and students whether they be Science Technicians, IT Technical support, Teaching Assistants, Before and After School Care, Nursery Nurses, School Nurse, Counsellors or Examination Invigilators.

We have made a conscious decision at Northampton High to keep all school services in-house rather than contracting these functions out. This means that we have experienced teams of caterers and cleaners who take a great pride in keeping the domestic side of school running smoothly and to a high standard. The beauty of having in-house teams means they are flexible and responsive to the needs of the school community, whether this is during term time, or to support the community use of the building in the evenings, holidays and at weekends. It also means that these staff are generally long serving and very much an integral part of the wider school community which adds value in so many ways.

Please click here to read more

Mrs Headley
Director of Finance and Operations

Week Ahead

Monday 18 March
Senior School Assembly
L4 Trip to Normandy
Open Prep Week – U4
6.1 Parents’ Evening
Badminton – U16A vs Regional Finals
Netball – U12A, B, C vs Oundle

Tuesday 19 March
L4 Trip to Normandy
Open Prep Week – U4
U4 and L5 Dip/Tet/Polio Vaccinations
Sixth Form BBC Northampton Trip

Wednesday 20 March
L4 Trip to Normandy
Open Prep Week – U4
Nursery/Junior Parents Evenings
Netball – U12A, B vs Wellingborough

Thursday 21 March
House Assemblies
L4 Trip to Normandy
Open Prep Week – U4
School Production Rehearsals
U5 Practical Drama Exam
Nursery/Junior Parents Evenings
Netball – 2nd VII vs Quinton House

Friday 22 March
Senior School Assembly – Sports Assembly
L4 Trip to Normandy
Open Prep Week – U4
GDST Cricket Select XI Training Day
Netball – U9A, B vs The Grove

Looking beyond the prospectus: Birmingham University

We know that preparing the women leaders of tomorrow is about so much more than writing a reference on a UCAS form.  Our girls, whatever their chosen path – anthropology or acting, biochemistry or business, computer science or creative writing, dentistry or design, engineering or equine studies, fashion or French (the list is endless) – know they can go wherever they choose and always aim high.

The higher education and training fields these days, though, are very complex.  With over 30,000 degree courses to choose from, for example, it is important to get up-to-date information as well as insights that take us beyond the sales pitch in the prospectus.

Yes – it is about every one of our students getting to the very best university course or training place for her chosen field.  But, it is also about ensuring that she flourishes and excels when she gets there.

With this in mind, I have begun a series of investigations, based on personal visits, of the universities that High School students might like to consider.  Using the opportunities afforded to me by membership of the GSA/HMC Universities Committee, I will report on the inside story of the university I visit each term to give my report on the impressions I get of life ’beyond the prospectus.’

This term – the University of Birmingham (a perennial favourite with High School students). On Thursday 24 January 2019, I visited Birmingham University to uncover the headlines and insights behind all those prospectus boasts.

Please click here to discover my findings.

Dr Stringer 

Science Week at Northampton High School

This year for British Science week the theme was journeys, a brilliant broad theme for all to get involved in and enjoy.  The week started with an assembly in the Senior School led by Mrs Hodgetts-Tate, which described her journey from Nursery to teaching at the High School today. Lots of very cute baby pictures featured, alongside the message that your journey will take many twists and turns and that change in your journey is ok.

All through the week, both in Senior and Junior School, there have been lots of Science lessons in addition to the normal Science curriculum. Alongside the assemblies in Senior School, there have been talks from environmental engineers, and trips to science workplaces and universities. 6.2 enjoyed a trip to Scott Bader in Wollaston where they tested properties of polymers such as viscosity and pH and were able to make their own polymers in an industrial lab. The also spoke to recent Chemistry graduates about studying at university, and about the recent PhD that one graduate had undertaken. The students were also able to see lots of spectroscopy techniques, that they learn as part of the syllabus, but in a real life setting. 6.1 had a trip to University of Leicester’s Brain Awareness day, where the students were on campus learning about brain studies and how their brain functions on a daily basis.

Year 7 and 8 had a Chemistry lesson that allowed them to explore further the theory of separation by extracting limonene from orange peel, using an A Level Chemistry method. Science club also had a series of experiments showing the journey from element to compound.

In Year 9 Physics lessons were due to launch some rockets, but due to storm Gareth we had to change plans to research the latest series of rockets and lunar landers. A good discussion was held on the pros and cons of the lunar landers and our journey further into space.

In Year 10 Biology lessons, students learned about the journey into the nucleus and made models of parts of the nucleus. They then presented these models to either another class in Year 10, or in some cases, Year 11. The Year 11 found this very useful as revision and the Year 10 models were fantastic.

We rounded off the week in Senior School with a guest appearance in assembly from Dmitri Mendeleev riding his bike around the assembly hall.  Maybe the link was tenuous, but the image is memorable.

We have had an excellent week of extra Science and fantastic opportunities for the students at Northampton High School to start or continue their STEM journey. I would like to thank everyone involved, especially Mr Turney, Mrs Hayden and Mrs Burgess-Wilson, my technician team, who have helped me get everything ready for this very busy week.

To view a host of photos from Science Week, please click here.

Mrs Hodgetts-Tate (aka Mendeleev)
Head of Science

Northampton High welcomes Mrs Fournès into school!

We are delighted to have been able to welcome a very special guest into the Northampton High School family.

Marie Fournès is a French native speaker, who teaches English at the Collège Louisa Paulin secondary school just outside of Toulouse. We are delighted to be able to welcome Marie into our community for two weeks as part of the mobility programme offered by the CIEP (International Centre of Pedagogical Studies).

Since her arrival last week, Mrs Fournès has been spending time in the classroom observing lessons and co-teaching some French lessons alongside the Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) team. Marie has also been attending classes in different subject areas, to help her to formulate an understanding of the British educational system.

Mrs Fournès, along with Ms Diez from the MFL team, run an eTwinning project together, which involves Year 7 to 10 pupils in France, and Year 8 pupils from Northampton High. This project entitled ‘United Traditions’, aims to raise the students’ cultural awareness, promoting international openness alongside a Greek and Spanish school.

Marie’s presence in the school brings a concrete dimension to these projects, and we are having a wonderful time hosting her here in school.

Mr Nash
Marketing and Communications Officer

L4 Geographers take on the 'Paper Bag Game'

Last week in L4 Geography the students have been learning about what it is like to live in poverty in a developing country like Bangladesh through playing the ‘Paper Bag Game’, devised by Christian Aid. The activity requires the girls to try and make as many paper bags as they can in a short time-frame and to then calculate from this how many they could make in a day (working for ten hours straight), to then be ‘paid’ this amount in ‘takas’. This is based on the real way some people earn a living in cities like Dhaka.

To buy the daily essentials (at the time the game was devised) Christian Aid estimated a person would need 26 takas to be able to buy food, fuel for cooking, pay for shelter and buy enough materials to carry on making paper bags to earn more money the next day. Sadly many of the L4 did not earn enough money to meet their daily essentials and even those that did realised they would struggle to afford education or medical bills if they became ill. This opened up an opportunity to discuss the lack of economic resilience to the risks associated with poverty that many people face on a daily basis in the developing world.

To view photos from the ‘Paper Bag Game’ event, please click here

Mr Earp
Head of Humanities

Engineering Talk by Richard Johnson

On Thursday 14 March, we were inspired by a fascinating engineering talk by Richard Johnson. We were very fortunate to learn about  ‘Waste into Energy’, an innovative idea where household waste is converted by being incinerated to release energy as well as many beneficial by-products like heating for houses.

Veolia was introduced to us, a company that deals with waste management, and we were told the process in which waste is converted efficiently, and where this takes place, in energy recovery facilities.

This interesting talk stimulated many questions from all age groups and was thoroughly enjoyed.


Girls take part in the Bebras Computational Thinking Challenge

Last Friday, 22 of our girls took part in the second round of the Bebras Computational Thinking Challenge.

The challenge was incredibly…, well…, challenging, but I was very proud of all of the girls and their efforts. Last year, we had one student who got through to this stage of the competition, but this year we had 27 of whom 22 could take part – an excellent improvement which I hope will continue next year.

Mr Martin
Subject Leader Computing

GCSEpod Resources – help for parents and guardians

You may be aware that we have a subscription to GCSEpod, which is made up of an excellent set of resources (called ‘pods’) to help students to learn for their GCSE exams. We make this available to all students from Year 9 upwards and we have been impressed by how much it has helped with developing understanding and exam skills.

Please see the page below in firefly for some more information, including a helpful list of pods for each examination in the summer. There is information for students to sign up to the service in the same firefly section.

Mr Rickman
Deputy Head Academic

Creative Arts Spotlight

This weeks Creative Arts Spotlight falls onto Hannah Smith. The subject topic was ‘Tropical Birds’, and Hannah is pictured here with her acrylic painting. Great work, Hannah!

Mr Laubscher
Teacher of Art & Drama

School Sport

It has proven to be a difficult sporting week with our fixtures due to the windy weather conditions, however the matches on Wednesday went ahead, despite the strong winds, with good results all round. The U13 Swimming Team competed well yesterday at the IAPS regional rounds yesterday, and we await the results in the coming weeks.

We would like to wish the U16 Netball Team good luck tomorrow at the National Netball Finals at Welwyn Garden City. We know you can do it!

Mrs Hackett
Director of Sport

Book Review

The Cut Out Girl by Bart Van Es – The Costa Book of the Year 2018
recommended for U4 and above

Little Lien wasn’t taken from her Jewish parents – she was given away in the hope that she might be saved. Hidden and raised by a foster family in Amsterdam during the Nazi occupation, she survived the war only to find that her real parents had not. Much later, she fell out with her foster family, and Bart van Es – the grandson of Lien’s foster parents – knew he needed to find out why.

His account of tracing Lien and telling her story is a searing exploration of two lives and two families. It is a story about love and misunderstanding and about the ways that our most painful experiences – so crucial in defining us – can also be redefined.

Miss Buxton
School Librarian

Swap Shop

We have listened to feedback from parents and we are delighted to be able to offer Senior School uniform to Junior School parents, for those who are making the transition to Senior School.  The next Swap Shop will be during Junior School parents’ evening on Wednesday 20 and Thursday 21 March. Please bring any items for sale into reception in the morning of the Wednesday.

The Selling Process

Should you wish to sell any items of uniform, swap shop tags can be obtained through Senior School reception and are to be completed accordingly. Unfortunately we can’t return the proceeds of the sale to you without a label, so money will go into school funds in these instances.

Please do not enter a price on the tag.  We have prices in place that the clothes sell for and 20% of the item goes to the school fund, which in turn is donated to the school.

The items of uniform should then be brought into the school and given to the Senior School reception team on the day of the swap shop and not before. All items must be in a good and clean condition.

Please make sure that if you are new to using Swap Shop, that you also attach your name and address (on a separate piece of paper) to the item of uniform so that we know where to send the cheque.  If you are sending in multiple items only one name and address sheet is required. Please make sure this is placed in the bag with all clothes submitted. Cheques for sold items will be issued in June each year.

We can no longer sell blazers and sports kit with the old logo, so please don’t send any in.

Carolyn Harvey
Swap Shop Team

Kings Camp Summer Sessions

We are happy to say that Kings Camp UK will again be bringing the fun this summer to Northampton High School. Book your places today by clicking here!

Term Dates

Northampton High School
Newport Pagnell Road, Hardingstone Northampton NN4 6UU
T: 01604 765765 nhsadmin@nhs.Gdst.Net